This morning we debarked the cruise ship at our final destination point: Chongqing, the hottest and spiciest city of the trip. Here we met Yi Ping, a professor from Southwest University, who would stay with us for the remainder of the course. After leaving our luggage at the hotel and eating a big serving of spicy noodles at the Southwest cafeteria for breakfast, we went to Di Ho Lake, a study site for students in life sciences at Southwest University. The lake has over 100 different types of algae and few fish, making it a perfect site to study and compare to other lakes. We took a water sample from the lake to analyze in the lab for later, and then traveled to a nature reserve within the city. The park includes botanical gardens, and has over 1800 different plant species. We were able to see many native (as well as introduced) species, such as the Aceracae tree, the dominant species in the area. Some of the class also decided to climb the nearby JinYun Mountain to get a view of Chonqing from the top. The view of the city and the Yangtze was very beautiful, although for the first time we were able to fully see just how industrialized and busy the area (and the air) really was.
We went back down the mountain to meet the rest of the class for a delicious (and spicy!) lunch with the local farmers who were very friendly and talked about their work in the field. Before going home, we visited another botanical garden that had been turned into a temple for Taoism, a type of Chinese religion. The garden further demonstrated the wide diversity of plant and tree species in China, as it included a class 1 (very rare) protected species called “wuhlus” (??), as well as ancient fern trees from the cretaceous period, amongst other vegetation.
After our long day, we ate a dinner where nearly every plate had something spicy on it, but it was exciting to see what our taste buds could handle! At the end of the meal there was tea cake for desert – something we had not seen before, as usually the desert had been watermelon. We had many new experiences, both at the dinner table and in the field, and we were excited to see what our next two days in Chongqing had to offer!
Blog 8/12 Wen Jing, Li jiang, Li jingying, Tao Ye, Basia
After three days’ boat trip, we are physically and mentally exhausted. It’s not very interesting to stay in a small boat for 3 days, although we went ashore in several places to visit some old cities. Anyway, it was time to get off and go to the last destination of our summer course—Chong Qing! We were immediately sent to the Southwest University, which is located in the Beibei District, and took a quick shower. Yes, the sanitary tap water is available to us again. After a wonderful shower, we were all rejuvenated!
We spent the whole morning in the Jinyun Mountain. It is a tourist attraction, a natural preservation area and also the place for Southwest University’s biology summer course. Professor Deng, who comes from Southwest University, gave us the guidance in Jinyun Mountain. First of all, we stopped beside a small lake. it is called “Dai” lake. There are many species of algae, especially the diatom, living in this lake and it’s not surprising to find the water is dark green. That’s why this lake has the name “Dai”, because “Dai” means dark green in Chinese. Although there are many algae in Dai lake, there is no evidence that this lake is going to have an algae bloom. The main reason is that the ecosystem in this lake is quite healthy, different kinds of algae need to compete for the resources so there is no algae bloom. There is another reason t is this lake is in the preservation area, thus there is not much nutrition loading into this lake. Deng also shared his thought about the management and planning of natural preservation area.
We climbed the mountain, after about 1 hours walk, we stopped in a restaurant and ate the local food and continued our walking to reach the summit. We recognized plants along our way. There are approximately 1800 species of plants in this mountain, about 600 of them are botanic garden species. Many species are of great significance, there are 30 plants that are listed in the first and second class of species that worth protecting in China. There are 14 endemic species and also the type species. We were luckily to see a fern which t is the food of dinosaur, we call it “Spinulose tree fern” or “Cyathea”.
That the first day in Chong Qing, and we were impressed with the city. So many mountains! It’s amazing that nearly all the buildings and roads are built in high mountains!
One more thing that is important, we are looking forward to eat the famous Chong Qing hotpot tomorrow!